Friday, June 27, 2008
Kaptains Kourageous: KP opens up to S&S
With the stunning news that KP has finally achieved his lifelong dream of captaining his beloved England, I sit down with the great man for some candid chat…Recent interviews have covered everything from cooking in the nude to pre-game sex, but today we talk leadership, honour and winning. When I arrive at the hip little bistro where KP has chosen to meet me, he is already there. Dressed in tight leather jeans, a form fitting white tee and a black jacket, I catch him busily admiring his reflection on the back of a tea-spoon. Naturally he is preening.
Sledgers&Sandbaggers: Kev, I imagine this is a big day for you?
Kevin Pietersen: Of course, you know as a young kid growing up in Pietermaritzburg I dreamed of one day captaining an international side…
SS: Any one in particular, or…?
KP: Well you know when Biff was made South Africa’s captain he was so young you know, and I wasn’t even on the team so opportunity that way was retarded…Anyway, it’s just such an honour, you know so humbling.
SS: I can imagine. So do you think you are a natural leader of men?
KP: For sure. You know what with my disciplined upbringing and everything, loyalty has always been such a big part of my makeup and I think that’s absolutely vital in a position of authority. The Skip is someone everyone needs to have faith in and that’s obviously the case with me.
SS: You are of course the latest in a long line of South Africans representing England. Now that you are going to be captaining the side, what do you say to those who think you’re just a mercenary?
KP: You know, I think this image the press have cultivated of me as some sort of money-grubbing playboy pillock is totally unfair. I play cricket because I love this sport, not for any shallow material gain it may bring me. I could be making movies, or modelling Brett Lee’s new underwear line – instead I’m practically penurious battling for queen and country against a bunch of hairy backed sheep-shaggers. I mean, I’m not the first South African born Englishman to captain the side: Greigy was one of the finest we ever had and no-one ever accused him of being a mercenary did they?
SS: Er, of course not…
KP: My English heritage has always meant the world to me. I’m more patriotic than the rest of the guys put together…
SS: I’m sure. Now you told the BBC earlier that you feel you’re just keeping Paul’s place warm for him until he comes back from suspension?
KP: Well I mean Collywobbler’s a great guy you know and the position is his, but four games is a long time in cricket and between you and me I wouldn’t be surprised to see KP skippering against the Saffers!
SS: So you have long-term leadership ambitions then?
KP: Well I think it’s fairly clear I’m being groomed. Warnie’s been giving me tactical tips for ages now. You know, I’m the world’s most exciting cricketer and I as I said earlier I’m so patriotic I literally bleed red.
SS: As do most of us I would’ve thought…Anyway so Vaughan’s on the way out?
KP: Well mate, does he have the 3 lions tattooed on his arm? That’s the kind of attitude the ECB are looking for in this day and age. Vaughany and Colly are great guys but they’re getting on a bit aren’t they?
SS: On a somewhat different note, you recently complained that whilst you were stuck playing for Hampshire and not getting paid big bucks for it Chris Gayle et al would be copping a hundred grand for 3 hours work in India.
KP: Well as I said I’m practically destitute, and it’s really galling that pricks like Dale Steyn are raking it in taking it easy in India whilst we’re stuck on the field in some English backwater for literally days at a time! It’s the younger blokes I feel for y’know? I mean, Swanney and Ravi could really use the break.
SS: So you’re just looking out for the lads then?
KP: Well I think when you’re the skip it comes as part of the territory…As I always say there's no I in cricket.
SS: Right. One last thing: You spoke of your tattoo, and we all remember that hairdo; have you got anything sartorially sensational lined up for us celebrating your accession to the skippership?
KP: I'm working on it...
SS: We look forward to it! Thanks for that fascinating insight...
photo: from HNM 1977 on Flickr
At least, that's how it would've gone had KP returned our calls...